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Wednesday
Apr132011

Coburn: 'Send Me Senators With Gonads'

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who is part of a bi-partisan effort to address the budget crisis, said Wednesday that real reform is possible if he can find more senators “who have some gonads.”

“Send me some Senators who have some gonads,” Senator Coburn said in an interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Coburn was talking about the plan he is developing as part of the so-called “Gang of Six” -- three Democrats and three Republicans who are developing a bi-partisan plan to reduce the deficit with a mix of steep spending cuts, entitlement reform and increased tax revenue.

The Gang of Six has been tight-lipped about their discussions, but Coburn revealed some of the details of their emerging plans.

Coburn said the plan would include $800 billion in deficit reduction to be agreed on this year with a commitment of another $3.3 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.  He said 85 percent of that would come from spending cuts and 15 percent would come from a tax reform plan that would increase tax revenue.

“If I could get a true down payment of around $800 billion dollars this year, with a mandate that we get another $3.3 billion dollars, and 85 percent of it come from cuts, 15 percent comes from dynamic effects of rate lowering, what would you say to that?” Coburn asked Hewitt.

“I’d say amen,” Hewitt responded.

“Okay, that’s what we’re trying to work on,” Coburn said. “But if I don’t get something that good, I won’t be going for it.”

A Coburn spokesman declined to comment on the status of the negotiations.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

Rep. Paul Ryan: 'Default Is Not Our Option'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Paul Ryan agreed with Secretary Tim Geithner that defaulting on our debt would be "catastrophic," but Ryan needs spending reform attached to that vote -- something he says the president will address Wednesday.

“Default is not our option or strategy but we also want to make sure that...as this debt limit increases, which is based on past spending, we get something in place to address future spending and that’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about. Spending cuts, spending control,” he told Good Morning America.

And if those cuts are not attached will he vote to raise the debt limit?

“I don’t accept a notion that that’s not possible. I think it is and the president is probably going to be talking about that today,” Ryan said.

Ryan did not spell out what it would take to avoid default.

The chairman of the House Budget Committee said he’s looking forward to hearing what the President has to say Wednesday -- except for any talk about new taxes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

Obama to Present His 'Vision' for Reducing National Debt

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will outline his plan to lead the nation out of its financial mess and cut the $14 trillion national debt in a speech at George Washington University on Wednesday.

According to the White House, the president will present his "vision" for long-term deficit reduction in his remarks, including borrowing some suggestions from last year's Deficit Reduction Commission.

"The president will lay out four steps to achieve this balanced approach, including: keeping domestic spending low, finding additional savings in our defense budget, reducing excess health care spending while strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, and tax reform that reduces spending in our tax code," the White House said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

Gang of Six Could Be Best Hope to Rescue US from Deficit

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Somewhere between the left -- President Obama's speech Wednesday on debt reduction -- and the right -- House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan's budget proposal -- lies a middle ground: a bipartisan group of senators working quietly to strike a deal on how to rein in the country's soaring deficit.

They are called the Gang of Six: Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Mark Warner of Virginia and Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and Mike Crapo of Idaho.

For the past few months the six lawmakers have sought to come up with a plan to slash the nation's deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade.  For the most part, they have been tight-lipped about their internal deliberations.

"These discussions are at a sensitive point, and the six senators are very, very close to agreement on a framework for moving forward," a Democratic aide told ABC News.  "It appears unlikely that it will occur until after we return from the upcoming recess."

If the Gang of Six does manage to reach an agreement on a plan, it is likely to address hotly-contested issues like reforming entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and revamping the country's tax code.  It is also expected to propose further reductions in domestic discretionary spending.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

Rep. Eric Cantor Suggests Delaying Debt Ceiling Vote

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Raising the debt ceiling is shaping up to be the next big battle in Congress but one Republican leader suggested Tuesday that there may be more time to deal with the impending crisis than previously believed.

While Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has already said that the government will hit the current debt limit of $14.3 million by mid-May, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says he and other Republicans are willing to put off a vote on the issue.

According to Cantor, "There is a window within which we have to act in order to avoid the eventual default of this country on its debt, and I believe that outside deadline is early July."

Regardless of when the vote comes, it will likely come at a steep price for Democrats.  Before the GOP accedes to raising the debt ceiling, they are almost certain to demand more cuts in programs, more spending caps and measures to reform entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid.

No one wants the U.S. to default on its debt obligations, given that the U.S. is the world's largest debtor nation.  Should the U.S. not be able to pay its bills, the dollar would crash around the world, driving the markets way down and oil prices way up.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr132011

GOP Support for Donald Trump White House Run Grows

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Once more proving that a little controversy never hurt anybody, Donald Trump is now on top of the leader board when it comes to Republican presidential hopefuls.

The real estate mogul and host of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice has been making a lot of noise lately about doubting the U.S. citizenship of President Obama, which has pleased supporters of the so-called "birther" movement.

It's because of that and his already high profile that Trump has catapulted himself to a first-place tie with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey of possible contenders for the 2012 GOP nod.  Both have 19 percent support.

What's most impressive about Trump's ascension is that he's risen ten points in just the past month, surpassing Republican stalwarts Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann.

Trump said he will decide by this summer if he'll run for president.  Should he fail to be nominated, he has suggested that he might seek the White House as an independent candidate.

As for those who say he's just doing all of this to boost his TV show's rating, Trump told the Wall Street Journal, "I don't need to do this for ratings on The Apprentice.  This is too important, our country is in trouble, our country is not being properly led."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr122011

McConnell on Obama's Debt Speech: "Time For Talking Is Over"

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, was asked on Tuesday what he hopes to hear from President Obama in his Wednesday speech on reducing the nation’s $14 trillion debt.

“Until he is directly involved and until he indicates he’s willing to sign something, it’s all just talk. Well, the time for talking is over, the time for doing is now and that will be precipitated by the request of the president of us that we raise the debt ceiling,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Without going into specifics, McConnell said he will demand “something significant” in exchange for voting to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit.

“In order to get my vote for raising the debt ceiling, we would need to do something significant about the deficit and let me define what I would view as significant: something that the markets would view as significant, something the American people would view as significant, something foreign countries would view as significant. Obviously that means no window dressing, no blue smoke and mirrors – something real, something measurable, that clearly will begin to reduce our debt.”

As he has stated in the past, McConnell reiterated his stance that raising taxes is not the right approach to reducing the debt.

“We all know we have this problem not because we tax too little, but because we spend too much. There’s no way to tax our way out of this problem. In my point of view taxes are not on the table because we don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr122011

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan Bucks House Leadership to Oppose Budget Compromise

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Final language for the compromise budget bill that averted a government shutdown has only been out about half a day, but already one prominent House Republican is opposing it.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, stated Tuesday morning that he believes "voters are asking us to set our sights higher,” and that the deal doesn’t go far enough to win his support.

House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the White House agreed to the terms at the 11th hour last Friday, but it took staffers until early Tuesday morning to flesh out specifics.

The House is set to take up an even more drastic set of cuts for next year’s budget later this week. Plus, a fierce debate on the nation’s debt limit looms. Jordan hinted that Republicans will use those vehicles to continue slashing government spending.

“The debate is now turning to next year’s budget and the debt ceiling, both of which offer real opportunities to chart a better future than the one toward which the country is currently headed,” Jordan, R-Ohio, stated. “Making a real impact will require the discipline to do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing.  Americans want us to reach higher, act bolder, and remember the job we were sent here to do.”

Jordan's "no" vote on the funding for the current year should not come as a surprise. The Republican Study Committee tried to amend H.R. 1 to cut a full $100 billion, and Jordan also voted against each of the two short-term CRs.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sympathized with the sentiment of some of his fellow Republicans who believe the cuts do not cut deep enough, but said that the bill is the “best deal we could have gotten.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Apr122011

Kentucky Rep. Dewayne Bunch Critically Wounded in High School Brawl

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- A newly elected Kentucky state lawmaker who also teaches high school suffered a critical head injury Tuesday morning while trying to break up a fight between two male students in the school's cafeteria.

State Rep. Dewayne Bunch, 49, was in "extremely critical" condition when he was taken to Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin, Ky., following the early-morning fight, the hospital said.

Bunch was unresponsive and bleeding from the ears when paramedics arrived at Whitley County High School, according to the News Journal.

Bunch was later transported to University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, which would not comment on his condition.

The two students were arrested and taken to the county juvenile detention center, according to a spokeswoman in the Whitley County Sheriff's Office.

The names of the students have not been released because the boys are minors. The boys face charges, according to the Whitley County Board of Education.

Bunch, a first-term Republican legislator who represents Whitley County, had long taught math and science at the school. "It's not good. It doesn't look good," Superintendent Scotto Paul told the Journal News. "I'm dealing with his family right now. This is a bad situation."

The school district observed a moment of silence at 10 a.m "to offer support for Rep. Bunch and his family," Paul said in a statement to ABC News.

"Our entire school district family remains in prayer for Dewayne and his family," Paul said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr122011

California Governor Signs Alternative Energy Bill

Office of California Gov. Jerry Brown(LOS ANGELES) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into a law a bill that mandates that a third of the state's energy come from alternative power sources like wind and solar within ten years.

“This is my path,” Brown said in announcing the initiative. “I mean, I didn't know in 1975, I'd have to come back 36 years later, and get it done again. But here I am, and I want to tell you, I'm not leaving until we get it finished.”

Brown called his state one of “innovation,” “creativity,” and a place for “the unexpected.”

“That’s what makes the difference,” he said.

Critics argue that the law will cost too much and force up the price of energy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio